Dream big versus being happy. Is that two clashing ideas, or can they harmonize? Looking back on my BIG dreams from just a few years back, this is what we had: A large house with all the bells and whistles, a huge paycheck, respect from my peers because of my job title. Admirable, sure, albeit a little superficial. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there, but I knew I would have to put in the time, climb the ladder. I could be CEO someday!
But what about family? How much time would I spend working towards my career goals and how much of that would be time spent away from family? How much of my lifetime was I willing to trade in order to chase those big dreams? I don’t suggest we quit trying, but discovering what you truly want in life is an answer worth seeking.
Lots of shit
What are your big dreams? I suggested a few of mine. Having a large house with lots of property, maybe some horses roaming around. A pool, of course, what use is a large house if you cant swim in your yard! We also wanted some fancy cars. At least one nice vehicle each, also a fairly new beater car for running errands and such.
To pay for all that I would need a job that paid really well. We had to determine paths we could take to make it all happen. Nothing like that would happen without lots of planning. Some people might just fall into it, but the rest of us have to work hard to make it happen!
A distinguished job title can certainly add to your self esteem, and probably your account balance too! To make that bigger paycheck, you’re probably going to have to climb the “corporate ladder” and hope to make it to the top. That means long days in the office and a huge time commitment. Feel like speaking your mind? You should probably hold back and play the political game, it would be a shame to shake the tree too much before your big payday arrives. Best to bite the bullet.
You could, of course, be your own boss, start your own company. The payoff might be a long ways away, but it is certainly an admirable course. Lots of hours still, but at least your working on something that is yours. This blog, for example, doesn’t write itself. Even the limited content currently available takes a while to write and develop until it’s at least legible. It’s something that is enjoyable for me (so far) and the time spent creating content may present a small income in the future.
What is the Cost of Happiness?
It was only a few short years ago my wife and I had this discussion, asking ourselves what we wanted in life. What would make us happy? Money notwithstanding, what did we want out of life? How could we make it happen so it wasn’t just a dream.
There is nothing wrong with Dreaming Big, you have to dream a little, especially early on in life. What we did find was the time commitment associated with those Big Dreams was too great a sacrifice. That ginormous house wouldn’t make us any happier than the house we were living in at the time. The extra tax bill might actually make us significantly LESS happy! The time spent pursuing even more demanding jobs was not worth the time spent away from family. I had a healthy income at the time and at the end of the work day didn’t have to bring any work home. What would make us happier would be no longer worrying about money, that was for sure.
Time really became our biggest factor. Time is the only commodity we have that is guaranteed to run out. Once the hour is gone, it’s gone. Have a family? How much time are you wiling to spend away pursuing your Big Dreams? Maybe you don’t have a family, perhaps you don’t want one. Thats fine, you should still question how much time you’re willing to spend chasing those Big Dreams. What is the time commitment of pursuing your Big Dreams, still worth it? The answer is a personal one, and like many questions in life there is no right or wrong answer.
I don’t want to look back on life and think I should have done something different. By questioning goals and deciding which are worth pursuing, you are taking steps to ensure you have no regrets later. We determined some of our dreams were not worth pursuing. They would not make us happier and the time cost was just too great.
Dream Big AND Be Happy
I believe you can both Dream Big and Be Happy. The decisions are yours. Pursue what you want. My admonishment is that you distinguish between long and short term happiness and let that weigh heavy on your decisions. Really, just don’t let life slip by. Time is too precious to sit idly by wondering what will happen. Make decisions and live life abundantly.